The San Crisogono Church is located in the Trastevere district in Rome. San Crisogono is one of the first parochial churches of Rome. Underneath this church the ruins of a paleo-Christian church can be visited. Other highlights include Cavallini‘s mosaics in the apse and a baldachin by Bernini.
San Crisogono Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Sidney Sonnino, 44 – Rome (tel. +39 06 5810076 or 06 5897192). Opening hours: Weekdays from 07.00 till 11.30 and from 16.00 till 19.30; Sundays and holidays from 08.00 till 13.00 and from 16.00 till 19.30. Admission: Free. Visit to the excavations of the underground church: 3 Euros.
History and description
The church is dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus, who was kept prisoner for two years in San Rufo‘s house and ended up converting the good man.
The San Crisogono Basilica already existed in the 5th century. It was renovated in 1129 by Giovanni Da Crema and completely rebuilt in 1626. Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned Gian Battista Soria to perform this reconstruction. Building the new church had been deemed necessary after the Tiber’s frequent inundations had caused serious damage.
The most recent restoration took place in 1866.
In 1907 remnants of the first San Crisogono were found and new excavations were ordered. These ruins can now be seen underneath the present church.
At the moment the church belongs to the Mendicant Order of the Trinitarians. A Mendicant Order lives of begging and charity and its members are not allowed possessions.
The bell-tower is a result of a 12th century reconstruction, while the interior of the church was reconstructed in the years after 1620. The granite columns were reused, being originally ancient Roman.
The remains of the old San Crisogono church are not the only ruins that can be admired. There are also parts of even more ancient Roman houses, which can be visited by going down a staircase near the sacristy. Since the architecture is rather atypical for a western church, it is suspected that the church did not start out as a church, but that it began its life as a laundromat (fullonica) and that the basins that are present only later started being used for baptisms.
Works of art
- The Cosmatesque mosaics on the floor are typically Roman, named for the Cosmati family who specialized in this geometric style.
- The High Altar (1127) with a 17th century baldachin by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
- The painting “The Triumph of Saint Chrysogonus” in the center of the baroque ceiling is a copy of Guercinog.
- What is left of the frescoes in the right nave was made by Paolo Guidotti. Originally these embellished the Church of the Saints Barbara and Katarina.
- The shrine of the Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, to the left of the nave: Anna Maria could see the future in a globe and was beatified in 1906.
- A number of beautiful sarcophagi.